This review has emphasized several recent advances in our understanding of human lymphocyte biology made possible by mAbs that recognize specific functional subpopulations of lymphocytes, coupled with multiparameter flow-cytometric analysis. In the last 3 years, both the T4+ and T8+ subsets of T cells have been further divided according to function and appearance of specific cell surface antigens. In addition, subpopulations of NK cells with different maturation states and B cells with distinct functional abilities have been discovered. Multiparameter flow-cytometric analysis of lymphocyte subpopulations can provide clues to the pathogenetic mechanisms of immune disorders, as has been demonstrated in AIDS patients and children with JRA. The use of multiparameter flow-cytometric analysis to study human immune responses in vitro has enabled a clearer understanding of the complex lymphoid interactions and, as we believe, may play an important role in the analysis of immune-associated disease processes.
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